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A step in the right direction

Nigel Jackson

MPA welcomes Autumn Statement’s modest boost to construction spending but says the focus is now on delivery

ALTHOUGH the Autumn Statement predicts an extended period of low economic growth and high public borrowing and deficits, the transfer of funding from current account revenue budgets to capital investment in construction represents a net positive for the construction and mineral products industries, says the Mineral Products Association (MPA).

The Association’s pre-Autumn Statement representations called for a focus on additional and early investment in transport projects, notably road schemes and road maintenance work, which can be implemented quickly, and the Autumn Statement announced an extra £1.4 billion of spending on local and national roads starting in 2013.


Taking account of additional local infrastructure investment to support housing and other development projects, significant new investment for schools and colleges, and confirmation of initiatives to encourage new house building and improved flood defences, the MPA believes the overall package is beneficial for the economy and for the mineral products industry, provided the cash intentions convert into short-term delivery on the ground.

Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the Association, said the Autumn Statement was a positive response to industry calls for more investment as well as cancellation of the planned January fuel duty increase and further action on unnecessary regulatory costs and burdens.

‘The construction boost is modest when compared with the industry decline suffered during 2012, but it is a step in the right direction,’ he commented. ‘We also welcome the raising of the threshold on capital allowances.’

However, Mr Jackson said concerns remained over the slow progress being made in getting new privately funded infrastructure projects under way. ‘A real focus on early delivery is required here,’ he asserted. ‘We hope that the proposed changes to the PFI model make a difference and soon.’

Summing up, Mr Jackson said the Government had listened and had tried to shift things in the right direction but the focus now had to be about urgent delivery, particularly on housing, new energy and transport infrastructure, and road maintenance.


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